Westy calls for home fans’ help
Lee Westwood has urged the home fans to be Europe’s 13th man at this week’s Ryder Cup match at Celtic Manor.
Lee Westwood has urged the home fans to be Europe’s 13th man as they attempt to regain the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
Westwood and Martin Kaymer will lead Colin Montgomerie’s team into battle in Friday morning’s fourballs against Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
And Europe’s most experienced player – with 16 and a half points from his five previous appearances – wants the 45,000-strong crowd to give the home side an extra boost on the Twenty Ten course.
“I hope we put on a good show for them,” said Westwood, who has not played a competitive round since August 6 due to a calf injury but feels confident he can play five times if required over the weekend.
“I hope we put on lots of birdies for them, which I think we will, and I would just say to the fans to get behind us because they are our 13th man.”
Kaymer, who has won his last two tournaments – including the PGA Championship of course – added: “They have come to see great golf and support us and more than anything else we want to show them that we are here to get the trophy back.”
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will take on Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar in the second match, with Montgomerie admitting the Northern Irish pairing was the “worst kept secret” in golf.
“We have been laughing and joking about it for two years and it is going to become a reality,” said McDowell, the current US Open champion and winner of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor in June with closing rounds of 64 and 63.
“It is going to be great to share it with a great friend and hopefully we can put the points on the board.”
A clash between McIlroy and Tiger Woods was eagerly anticipated following McIlroy’s comments that anyone on the European team would “fancy their chances” against the off-form world number one.
That did not transpire with Woods “hidden” – in Montgomerie’s words – in the third match with Steve Stricker against Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter.
Asked if the order of his pairings was intended to keep McIlroy away from Woods, Montgomerie insisted: “No it wasn’t that at all. I didn’t want to make any statement regarding that.
“But I think it’s good actually that Rory can get a game under his belt without Tiger Woods. I’m sure it will happen (in the future).”
The final match sees Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald up against Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, US captain Corey Pavin springing a surprise by putting out two rookies together on the opening morning and leaving out FedEx Cup winner Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan, who was unbeaten in five matches at Valhalla in 2008.
“It was probably the one pairing you wouldn’t have guessed in their team,” Donald admitted. “But they’re both very long hitters and this is a course that is playing long, so they’re likely to make a lot of birdies.
“No match is easy, so we’ll respect them just like we respect any opponents.”
The announcement of the pairings saw Europe made favourites to win the opening series and lead at the end of the first day, with Montgomerie adding: “It’s very important to get that momentum and win the first series.
“Momentum has to be gained early on and then continued through the afternoon to gain the lead tomorrow evening and that’s my goal. It’s all set up for that.”
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